Skem TrainLink Headbolt LCC Stock 1

Upgrade to Skelmersdale to Liverpool express service starts this weekend

Skelmersdale's TrainLink bus service is getting an upgrade following on from the opening of Headbolt Lane railway station which will make journeys to Liverpool even more comfortable and convenient.

The service will be stopping at the new Headbolt Lane railway station from Sunday 9 June with passengers able to buy a combined bus and rail ticket whether they begin their journey on the bus in Skelmersdale, or at train stations in Liverpool.

For added convenience the new Headbolt Lane railway station has been designed with space for TrainLink and local buses to pull in on the forecourt and drop passengers right outside the new station building. Merseyrail services have been steadily increasing in frequency since the station was opened in Autumn 2023 and the full 4 trains per hour service was reinstated on Monday 27 May.

The Trainlink service has experienced steady growth in passengers since it launched in January 2023, cutting the travel time between Skelmersdale and Liverpool Central Station by public transport to under 50 minutes.

Operated by Stagecoach on behalf of Lancashire County Council with funding from the Bus Service Improvement Plan, the route has been updated to run between Skelmersdale Concourse, Headbolt Lane Railway Station via Maghull Lane and Kirkby Bus Station for onward transport links into Liverpool.

The express service operates every 30 minutes throughout the day Monday to Saturday, and every hour in the evening. There is also an hourly service on Sundays. Buses are timed to connect with Merseyrail train services from early 'til late.

Phil Durnell, Lancashire County Council's director of highways and transport said: "The TrainLink is already a high-quality service offering a quick and comfortable journey on modern buses which operate frequently throughout the day.

"The switch to Headbolt Lane railway station where Merseyrail's trains begin means that you can now buy one ticket for your whole journey to or from Liverpool, and enjoy the added convenience of travelling via the new station.

"The TrainLink is a really easy way to get to Liverpool and other destinations by rail and the new station will encourage more and more people in Skelmersdale to use the new service."

Neil Grabham, managing director of Merseyrail, said: "Merseyrail is delighted to support this service, which will complement Headbolt Lane station and our services so well.

"The people of Skelmersdale now have an even faster and more seamless public transport option for getting across the Liverpool city region.

"We are particularly pleased to be able to provide a single ticket option which brings simplicity to customers who want to use Merseyrail services.

"Everyone at Merseyrail is looking forward to being a key partner to the Skelmersdale community in the years ahead."

Matt Davies, managing director of Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire, said, "Stagecoach is proud to continue operating the Trainlink, Skelmersdale-Kirkby service, further enhancing public transport connectivity to Liverpool for residents of West Lancashire.

"The route remains a valuable asset, offering a greener travel option compared to cars. We continue to welcome customers in Skelmersdale and provide fast, efficient bus connections to both Merseyrail and the wider bus network in Kirkby. This is especially exciting as the service will begin stopping at the new Headbolt Lane railway station from the 9th of June so that customers can take advantage of combined bus and rail tickets too."


Combined bus and rail tickets are now available to buy on the TrainLink bus and at Merseyrail stations.

An off-peak daysaver valid from Skelmersdale to Merseyrail Area C railway stations (which includes Central Liverpool stations) is priced at £5.95 for adults, and £2.95 for children and 16-18 year olds. Off-peak TrainLink tickets can be used all day at weekends, bank holidays and at off-peak periods on weekdays.

Anytime peak return tickets valid between Skelmersdale and Central Liverpool stations are priced at £8.10 for adults and £4.05 for children.

Anytime peak single tickets valid between Skelmersdale and Central Liverpool stations are priced at £6.60 for adults and £3.30 for children.

Child fares (5–15) are available at all times and discounted fares for Young People (16–18) are available off-peak. Proof of age must be provided prior to purchase. Proof of age may be requested during ticket inspections on the Merseyrail network.

There are also a range of bus only fare options available, with adult single bus fares still priced at £2 and tickets for unlimited weekly travel for just £6.

Notes to editors

The development of the Skelmersdale TrainLink service forms part of a £34.1m programme to make buses the best travel option for more people across the Lancashire County Council and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council areas following a successful bid by the councils and local bus operators to the Department for Transport to support their Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIP).

The TrainLink service has opened up new opportunities for people travelling to Liverpool for work, education and leisure, and provided Skelmersdale with a direct new link to the Merseyrail and National Rail network.

Headbolt Lane is the first station to benefit from battery technology on the new Liverpool City Region trains for the Merseyrail network, removing the need to extend the third rail beyond the existing Kirkby station.